Can I Be Liable for an Accident My Niece Caused With My Car if I Wasn't in the Car?
Some of the legal theories used in these cases include:
Negligent entrustment. If a person lends the a car to someone knowing the driver is incompetent, reckless, or inexperienced, the car owner may be liable for damage caused by the other person's driving. A party injured by such a driver must generally prove five components of this tort: (1) that the owner entrusted the vehicle to the driver; (2) that the driver was unlicensed, incompetent, or reckless; (3) that the owner knew or should have known that the driver was unlicensed, incompetent, or reckless; (4) that the driver was negligent in the operation of the vehicle; and (5) that the driver's Negligence resulted in damages
The family purpose doctrine. Some states adopt the "family purpose" doctrine. In those states, when someone purchases and maintains a car for general family use, the owner of that vehicle (generally, dad or mom) is liable for negligent driving by any family member using the car.
Signing a minor's driver's license application. Some states have laws that make the person who signs a minor's driver's license application legally responsible for the minor's negligent driving. So, if a parent signs the application, the parent will be liable for the child's negligent driving.
The answer depends on all the facts involved. It is likely for the owner of the vehicle involved in an accident to be sued, however, unless a legal theory, as explained above, applies, the owner generally won't be liable if not in the car at the time of the accident. The time allowed to sue someone depends upon the claim that is made. Also, a minor has 2 years from turning 18 to file a claim. The statute of limitations for personal injury in California is two years. See also: